New ISDA Director Don Lamb Discusses Leaving the Farm to Lead Indiana’s Ag Department
The big news this week in Indiana agriculture is the hiring of Don Lamb as Director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture. Lamb made his first official appearance as Director during the Shelby County Ag Promotion banquet Wednesday night at Horseshoe Racing and Casino in Shelbyville.
“I love farming and I still do. I didn’t have any desire to leave the farm for any reason, so I had to have a good reason to help me want to do that,” says Lamb, who farms with his dad and brother near Lebanon in Boone County.
Lamb says the opportunity to help lead Indiana’s ag department was something that he to think about at first.
“Honestly, it started with a phone call,” says Lamb. “I received a phone call that said, ‘Would you want to consider doing this?’ As a farmer, I think my first response, in my mind at least, was, ‘I couldn’t do that.’ But the more we thought about it, prayed about it, and talked about it with our family, we decided that it was something we could do. The more we went through the process, things seem to have fallen place and I think I’m where I’m supposed to be right now.”
Even though Lamb’s first official day on the job isn’t until Monday, March 13, he says he’s already hit the ground running. That includes working with the ISDA team on state and federal legislation that impacts Indiana’s ag industry. One item that ISDA has been pushing for is additional state funding for the Indiana Grain Buyers and Warehouse Licensing Agency.
“It’s a great program. It’s what provides security to our farmers. It’s like the FDIC at a bank—it’s what gives you security to know that your grain is safe,” says Lamb. “It’s really important, and it does take funding. When you think about it in terms of what’s happened with inflation and commodity prices, it makes sense that it’s going to take more funding to keep doing what we’re doing.”
Lamb says he’s also excited about helping to grow Indiana’s international ag exports, as well as advocating for Indiana ag tech industry.
“Indiana is eighth in the nation as far as exports, so for the state that is 38th in size to be eighth for ag exports is really strong,” says Lamb.
“These are exciting times to be involved in agriculture. Indiana has positioned itself so well with biotechnology that we’re really on the leading edge of that, so I think it’s going to get stronger and stronger.”
Lamb admits that leading a full team at ISDA and representing Indiana’s ag industry is certainly a lot different than working with his family back on the farm.
“For me personally, this is a major shift in my lifestyle. The challenge is going to be for me to adjust a little bit from the farm to the city, but I’m really looking forward to it,” says Lamb.
“I really want to be somebody who people can reach out to and somebody who really takes this role seriously as an advocate for agriculture,” Lamb says.
Click BELOW to hear C.J. Miller’s news report and exclusive in-person interview with Don Lamb, the new Director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture.